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Ankle Sprain Specialist

Joseph Stern, DPM

Podiatrist & Podiatric Surgeon located in San Francisco, CA

Ankle sprain is a common cause of ankle-related pain, and without professional care, sprains can cause serious and even permanent disability. Dr. Joseph Stern is skilled in the treatment of ankle sprains in patients in San Francisco, CA, providing custom care solutions to relieve pain and help prevent complications.

Ankle Sprain Q&A

What causes ankle sprains?

Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments, strong bands of tissue that connect the bones of a joint, become injured. These injuries can occur as the result of a fall or when the ankle is twisted or overstretched, such as during sports and other physical activities. Pivoting and making quick, sharp changes in direction when running or even standing still during activities like football, soccer, tennis and similar sports frequently cause ankle sprains. They can also be more common among people with balance problems or “weak” or unstable ankles that are more likely to become injured through twisting. Very severe sprains can cause the ligaments to tear, either partially or completely.

What symptoms do ankle sprains cause?

The most common symptoms associated with an ankle sprain is localized pain and tenderness around the joint, often accompanied by swelling and sometimes redness. Painful symptoms become worse - sometimes quite severe - when the ankle is moved or weight is placed on the ankle. Sprains often cause a popping noise or sensation when the ligament overstretches and then “snaps” back into position, or when the ligament tears.

How are ankle sprains treated?

Mild to moderate ankle sprains may respond to conservative treatment options like rest, elevation, and application of ice packs to the soft tissues surrounding the joint. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be used to reduce pain and inflammation so healing can occur, and splints, taping or bracing may be used to keep the joint stable and aligned as the tissues heal. If the sprain results in a torn ligament, surgery is usually required to repair or even replace the ligament so normal function can be restored. Physical therapy can be very useful in preventing the ankle from becoming stiff and in restoring strength and flexibility in the joint. A cane, crutches or other assistive devices may also be prescribed during healing to improve mobility while preventing excess strain on the joint.


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United Healthcare